Saturday, 26 July 2008

Track Changes: Primary "Free school meals" call

Primary 'taxpayer funded meals' 'free school meals' call

Ministers are being urged by their creditors to offer taxpayer funded free school meals to all primary school pupils in England.

Currently, taxpayer fundedfree meals are only offered to children from poorer families.
But Labour-affiliated unions who will not pay for the change want the means test to be removed, so that all primary school children can receive a taxpayer funded free healthy canteen lunch.
A Department for Education but now ridiculously renamed to Children, Schools and Families spokesman said it was looking at the results of a taxpayer funded free meals pilot in Hull, but had no plans to extend it which speaks volumes.
Delegates at Labour's National Unions bully the PLP Policy Forum in Warwick are understood to have tabled an amendment calling for the Government to spend other peoples' money the change.

Insert non-sequitur statement to give the impression the move will be uncontestible Serving up a free healthy lunch in every school would bring benefits to the nation's collective health.

They hope ooops! thats blown the gaff on the true results in Hull it will boost the number of pupils taking the meals, which are now subject to strict nutritional guidelines due to the State being humiliated by a private individual, one Jamie Oliver who exposed the shameless cost cutting and junk food culture in school dinners .
Figures released earlier this month revealed that take-up of healthy school dinners has risen in primary schools for the first time since 2004 to 43.6% though you are supposed to think this is somehow connected with the funding of meals .
In 2006, new rules again brought about by the humiliation of the State were introduced banning vending machines and junk food from school canteens and requiring schools to produce more nutritious meals.
There are also calls from an MP writing in the detestable Fabian Review, the quarterly magazine published by the self-loathing, Fifth-Columnist Fabian Society which has long-standing links to the Labour Party for shame.
Sharon Hodgson, MP for Gateshead East and Washington West, argues: "All parents are feeling the pinch and universal taxpayer funded free school meals would transfer ease the pressure on purse strings to the overburdened middle classes at home and, eventually, in the Treasury.
"The chance to extend influence across the entire life ofthe eating habits of all children is one not to be missed."
She adds: "Serving up a taxpayer funded free healthy lunch in every school would bring under our control benefits to the nation's collective health, educational attainment and tokenistic unproven environmental credentials."
Mrs Hodgson says an evaluation of a pilot scheme in Hull shows there is a positive impact of making free school meals universally available but refuses to quantify it.
But that the idea was scrapped after a change in the ruling party on council which we will not mention because it was not to the Tories, but to the Lib Dems and we don't bother to criticise them.
Mrs Hodgson says she was inspired by what she saw during a visit to schools in Sweden but was determined to ignore the fact that they were independent of the dead hand of the State and funded by VOUCHERS.

'New kitchens'

"Lunch was an integral part of the curriculum with all children eating a healthy meal alongside their teachers.
"The food was not State controlled so was tasty, healthy and appetising. All the children tucked in heartily, helped themselves to seconds and tidied up after themselves before retuning to wipe down the tables which of course will magically happen when we make the meals taxpayer funded, won't it children?.
"When I asked whether that was normal behaviour, the Swedish teachers were astonished that we did not do the same here again disingenuously making you think it is about the meals, but not the tidying up.
"They asked whether we did not realise how important it is that children eat a good, nutritious meal at lunch time if they are to concentrate and learn. But I am going to gloss over the other behavioural differences as that would create more social exclusion for the deprived"
A DCSF spokesman said: "We've spent invested over £650 million to transform school lunches - to improve nutritional standards and training; build new kitchens; and raise take up, particularly among the 210,000 children who we know qualify for free school meals but do not claim them.
"Local authorities already have the power to extend free school meals provision to those they consider need it. so why the heck aren't they, eh? Money.
"We are looking at Hull's experiment of offering free school meals to all primary school pupils but have no current plans to change existing national policy cos we don't have a brass farthing left."
QANGO ALERT! Child Poverty Action Group's head of policy Paul Dornan said where free school meals for all had been been tried, they had been a great success.
Insert disingenuous statement here to foster a post-hoc fallacy "Children who sit down every day to a good quality meal together are healthier, happier, learn better and socialise better.
"This would be good news for all children, especially low income families facing rising prices who would save £300 per child on the costs of paying for school meals or pack lunches. but transfer those costs to an overburdened middle class who are already paying the lion's share of schooling costs "

sorry, BBC, could not resist.


Mark Wadsworth said...

Top stuff, but I'm not actually averse to free school lunches for all. I am against means-testing, so it's all or nothing AFAIAC.

Roger Thornhill said...

If we have vouchers, then it is up to the school to spend the money as they see fit.

Free lunches are probably a good idea - the cost vs admin and the benefit in behavioural conditions caused by a little less Sunny-D - but then I am sure schools if freed from State control as in Sweden would get on with such things.

The real issue is the disingenuous spin, the use of the word 'free' and the total contempt for taxpayers who are already overburdened by talking as if the 'tax fairy' will pay for it all.